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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

UW stresses health precautions as outbreak numbers increase

In response to more than 45 incidents of diarrhea and vomiting from residents of Sellery Hall, university officials are urging students to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water and use hand sanitizer. 


Dr. Susan Van Orman, executive director of University Health Services, said the first incident was reported Nov. 6.  


People are calling it norovirus, but we are still waiting for confirmation on that,"" Van Orman said. ""People develop symptoms pretty suddenly, within an hour or two get a feeling of nausea.""  


Students of the residence hall have reported vomiting seven or eight times over the course of several hours. Van Orman said symptoms, which include diarrhea and vomiting, tend to disappear within 24 hours but students may immediately feel better.  


According to University Health Services officials, the norovirus spreads through bodily fluids, including saliva and vomit, when other people touch the virus and put it into their mouths. The virus is extremely contagious because it can survive on public surfaces like bathrooms and door handles.  


UHS directors said they have only seen one to two individuals each day who need IV treatment and fewer people have visited surrounding emergency rooms.  


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""Most [students] care for themselves, once the vomiting dies down they are able to rehydrate themselves and symptoms usually calm down,"" Van Orman said.  


University officials are not sure of whether the spreading of the virus will get worse but are continuing to educate students on how to stay healthy. Sellery Hall officials said they do not forsee a closure of the residence hall in the near future. 

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